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The Mets respond to Putz's allegations

Feb 2, 2010, 5:01 PM EDT

UPDATE: While I had seen the actual statement the Mets released about Putz before writing the business below, I had missed this story from Marty Noble at MLB.com last night. In it he relates that the Mets do, in fact, deny Putz’s claim that they told him to hide his injuries from the media.  They also say that it’s not standard to do a physical on a player in a trade, only when he’s a free agent.  Whether that means it’s not standard for the Mets to do it or standard for all teams is unclear from the article.

Seems to me, however, that if I was trading for a guy I knew to have bone spurs, I might want to check him out.  But like I said below, I’m not doctor.

4:20 P.M.: Yesterday J.J. Putz alleged that (a) the Mets didn’t give him a physical at the time he was acquired in a trade despite knowing he had a bone spur while pitching for the Mariners; (b) that his spring training physical was a “formality”; and (c) that the Mets told him not to disclose to the media that he was injured after his bone spur flared up again in May. Today the Mets responded:

“In our review of the player’s medical records in the acquisition of
J.J. Putz, we were aware that he had a bone spur before the trade.  He
had the same condition in 2008 and was able to pitch with it.  J.J.
underwent an exam during Spring Training and an additional exam and MRI
before he was cleared to play in last year’s World Baseball Classic. 
Unfortunately the spur did flare up again in May, and he missed the
rest of the season.  We are happy to hear he is feeling well, and wish
him success with the White Sox.”

That’s nice and all, but that doesn’t seem to contradict anything Putz said.  The team admits that they knew about the bone spur. They make no mention of any physical at the time of the trade, so we can assume that the Mets knowingly traded for a guy with bone spurs and did not conduct their own physical of the player.

They agree with Putz that a physical happened during spring training and presumably add the fact of the MRI to contradict Putz’s characterization of it as “a formality,” but neither side suggests that anything relating to bone spurs came up. Rather, they “flared up” in May.  Finally, the team ignores Putz’s charge that they told him not to tell anyone he was hurt.

Look, I’m no doctor, so I can’t say anything intelligent about the bone spurs, when Putz had them when he didn’t and how much trouble they gave him at any given time.  But the flare up, or not, of bone spurs seems like the least troubling part of all of this. More troubling is the lack of a physical at the time of the trade and telling the player not to disclose that he was hurt to the media, neither of which the Mets deny.

  1. Drew - Feb 2, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    You know, as a Mets fan, I’m actually pretty OK with this press release. Sure, it shows incompetence as far as their medical approach, but 1) We’ve known that for a long time, and 2) Specifically, we already knew that about this case. On the other hand, it’s a refreshing change to their general PR policies, which have been to either directly lie, or attempt to shift blame to somewhere where it didn’t belong. In this case, they simply said “Yeah, he had a health problem and it got bad. We wish him luck.” While it doesn’t do a lot to help the team, amazingly, it doesn’t do much to hurt them in my eyes, and that’s at least some form of improvement.
    It’s tough to root for this organization right now.

  2. Mike - Feb 2, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    As a Met fan since 1962 it has been tough to root for this team the last 4 years. At least the Yankees are classy are give their fans an opportunity to see a winning team each year.

  3. YANKEES1996 - Feb 2, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    Mike and Drew you two guys along with my brother are to be commended, stand up fans the lot of you. The Mets medical staff missing something or not doing what they should do, I don’t believe it!
    I have said it before and I will say it again, all of the problems, bad signings, bad personnel decisions and just unusual mistakes but still he remains : OMAR MINAYA!!!
    P.S. – The ownership is not all it is cracked up to be either.

  4. ecp - Feb 2, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    I would dispute the statement that physicals are not standard in trades, but this could be just playing with semantics: “Standard” might imply that a physical is performed 100% of the time, when, in fact, they aren’t. But they are certainly very common prior to the completion of a trade. Just because the Mets don’t care if they have one doesn’t mean that other teams don’t as a matter of course.
    You’re right, though, of course, Craig. How could they not want a physical on a player they knew to have bone spurs? Sure, he pitched around them for a while, but they get worse. I can tell you from experience that they tend to do that.

  5. Joe - Feb 2, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    Wilpon needs to tear it all down.Better yet sell the team and let the new owner do it.This team is a disgrace.

  6. Jackman - Feb 2, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    Ofcourse they told their players to lie, Beltran was first out for like 2 weeks, turned out to be the whole season. Reyes was said to be day to day, again whole season. And what happened? People held out hope that these players would return, and maybe they could make a run, so they didn’t stop going to the games. That was the whole point of lying.
    They are now giving the Isiah Knicks a run for their money as the worst management group ever in their respective sports.

  7. peteinfla - Feb 2, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    Hey, the Met’s only expose themselves as disfunctional, dishonest and incompetent when their lips are moving. Even a common thug knows he has the right to remain silent. I think that the Mets should try exercising this right. The more they speak, the worse they make things.

  8. Old Gator - Feb 2, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    Pandas, you know, have a bone spur on each front paw that they use for stripping bamboo leaves. We’ve had a bit of an infestation of Pandas down here in Macondo, to go along with the iguanas, fire ants, Burmese pythons, cane toads, monitor lizards, monk parrots, giant snails, nutria (which is not a brand of cereal, despite popular misconceptions), walking catfish, northern snakeheads, New York Mutts fans, children of G. W. H. Bush and worse. As a consequence, I’ve been spraying my Buddha Belly and even more expensive ornamental black bamboo with Die Miserably! house and garden spray imported from China. Yes, it kills the dogs, cats, squirrels and possums too, but it does get rid of those stinking pandas.
    .
    So, if J. J. Putz breaks a bone spur again this season, all he has to do is call me and I will send him a couple of Panda’s thumbs he can have implanted immediately. That should cut his time on the DL significantly.

  9. LUKE MEADOWS - Feb 14, 2010 at 2:26 PM

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